Saturday, March 03, 2007

Oxygen Free Copper

I'm not going to dodge the issue: I believe that oxygen free copper is a lot of baloney. That is, unless you are out in space, somewhere that has zero oxygen. Copper is a fairly reactive metal and combines with sulfer, chlorine and a lot of other elements very easily, even right out of air.

Air, such as you are breathing, contains about 1/5th oxygen, and the remainder is mostly nitrogen. A very small amount - somewhere around 0.029 to 0.039%, is carbon dioxide.

I was reading an in-flight catalog where the sellers were emphasizing the absolute importance of having oxygen free copper in my audio system, and as I soared over Palmdale, I was glad that the oxygen free engineers hadn't designed the wing of the 757.

Above you see some very ordinary, but carefully specified and prepared, oxygen tainted wire that we use in some Crowley and Tripp ribbon microphones. These blunt little solid bits convey the signal from the ribbon, to you. They are a pain to work with because they are so stiff, but it's worth it, because of the very low ohmic loss that a large conductor affords.

Can you hear the sound of the oxygen? I hope so.


jim said...

Reminds me of the time I visited a very snooty, high-end audio shop across from MIT some years ago. At the time MONSTER cable was all the rage. I was cornered by a saleman who proceeded to give me an unwanted lecture on the merits of Monster cable. While rambling on about the Monster cable and how great this particular biamplified system sounded, I noticed that for some strange reason the Bi amplified system used the Monster cable for the Tweeter element and regular old zip cord for the Woofer/Midrange. After the salemsan finished his spiel I asked him if it wasn't true that the Woofer carried most of the power and needed to have the Monster cable. The salesman agreed wholeheartedly. It was then that I pointed out the Monster Cable mistake and exited the store laughing. N1IPP

Anonymous said...

I recently read that oxygen-free copper was produced in an attempt to prevent corrosion in the copper. As long as it is kept dry with a protective coating that should not be an issue. N1IPP